Amid all the stupidities of the Nipplegate fallout - some in the US fear that the whole thing might encourage traditionally more adventurous broadcasters to start playing it safe. With US media regulator the FCC relishing the high profile outrage across America, and keen to use it to increase its censorship powers, broadcasters may choose to avoid contentious content rather than risk fines, bad press or lost sponsorship.
The concerns follow a report in the LA Times which claims MTV - producers of
the Superbowl half time show - have taken eight videos out of daytime
rotation because of new concerns about their content. The videos assigned
nightime-only status include clips from Britney Spears, Blink-182, Maroon 5
and Incubus. The Times points out the latter doesn't contain any sexual
content and seems to have been deemed inappropriate because of its political
content - the video features a Hitleresque character sprouting wings and a
politician speaking before a gas-pump podium. An MTV insider is quoted as
saying: "We support the creative community, but we have to take into account
what's in the culture right now. It's part of our responsibility as broadcasters."
Some insiders fear that definition of 'responsibility' is being based on the
potential fines the FCC is threatening to slap at MTV's sister company CBS who broadcast the Superbowl, and at the potential for lost sponsorship over the Justin/Janet performance. That is to say that MTV's history of pushing the boundaries is once again threatened for commercial reasons.